“Weaving is our tradition,” Suschila explained to me, raising her voice over a ruckus click-clack coming from a nearby weaving shed at the Action Northeast Trust (The ANT) campus in New Boingaoan, Assam. Suschila and I sat with steamy chai talking over a relentless composition guided by the hands of dozens of women pounding wooden shuttles against their handlooms in a steady beat.
The ANT is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that addresses a sweeping range of livelihood concerns for marginalized communities throughout Assam’s Chirang District, also known as Bodoland. The ANT’s programs are comprehensive, ranging from monthly community mental health camps and organic agriculture workshops, to legal services for internally displaced persons and forest dwellers. One of its central efforts is women’s empowerment, which has been addressed with the establishment of Aagor, an independent weaving collective for women housed under the ANT’s wide umbrella of programming.
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